Dysfunction 19 – No goals

Dysfunction 19 – No goals

Given that the football season is about to start, there should be loads of goals soon.

But what about a different type of goal – have a think about these questions…

What are the department’s goals?

What are the project goals?

What are the team’s goals?

What are the sprint goals?

What are your goals?

After 2 years in the same role I didn’t have all the answers and I’m willing to bet that most of you don’t either.

You may have a sense of what they are, but has it ever been discussed?

Holy crap batman – surely it’s important?

When I think back over my career, this is something that at one level or another has been missing.

How can we win if we don’t know what to aim at?

How do we measure success at an individual and/or team level if we don’t know what our goals are?

How do we end nearly 50 years of hurt if we can’t win a penalty shoot-out against the bloody Germans?

Blimey – that’s a lot of questions. Not all of them relevant.

Anyway – what about the friking answers?

If only it was that easy…

Well maybe it is, at least if we start at the bottom, understanding our own goals.

These are yours. No-one else’s.

We all have our own agenda, and the goals we set for ourselves are one of the few things at work that are entirely down to us to decide.

By goals I mean stuff the next level up from day to day to do lists. The short, medium and long term stuff.

Note – It’s dysfunctional to confuse personal goals with project objectives. Your goals should mean something to you. They should result in some kind of learning, personal achievement or growth and not be based on someone else’s desire to complete a piece of work within a certain time frame.

Imagine a game of football where neither team were trying to score , what would be the point of that?

Imagine you don’t have any personal goals, then you are just drifting the whole time. Where is your sense of achievement coming from?

Have you got these written down somewhere? If not then do it today. Why wouldn’t you when you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain?

If you work using Agile practices then does the team set sprint goals? If not you probably think they don’t matter, but try this in a future planning session. I found it helps to think about things more holistically, rather than just a list of tasks/stories.

How about the team? Are you on the same side?  Are you working together towards common goals? Do you have common values? If you haven’t talked about this together then how do you know?

What about the business benefit of the project you are working on? What is the value the organisation puts on getting it done? What is the end goal here?

The department should have a clear goal (maybe called a mission statement), if you’ve not seen this then I bet dysfunctional behavior and communication is rife where you work (as if it’s not anyway…)

Oh – that reminds me of one place where the department had five ‘number 1 priorities’ for the year. Brilliant.

Damn, there are more questions and not many answers after all that, but hopefully you get the point.

Err – what was the point?

Oh yeah – goals are important.

So if you don’t have any goals written down, then come up with one now and write it down. If you have more that come to mind that’s great, but to start with just try and come up with one.

Having goals makes a difference.

If we are not working towards a goal at one of the above levels pretty much all the time then what the heck are we doing?

Being dysfunctional. And trust me, there is more than enough of that going on already…

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